American copyright law is intentionally opaque. Outside of legal departments, few students or faculty members have a thorough understanding of Fair Use. Some studies even support an assertion that "no one" on campus understands it.
While this fog is helpful for courts that must continually interpret and redefine the spirit of copyright in the face of evolving technology (i.e., everything to come along since the printing press), the same gray areas can lead to confusion, intimidation, and widespread noncompliance on campus.In fact, most faculty and administrators we’ve talked to say their understanding of copyright in the classroom is just nebulous enough to be dangerous.
Such is the reason we leaned upon one of our colleagues—a former professor at the United States Air Force Academy, which has unique incentive to address copyright given that it hires each of its graduates into military leadership—to assemble a comprehensive guide.
A succinct reference tool for avoiding the “unfair” use of materials in and out of the classroom, The Campus Guide to Copyright: From Creative Commons to Fair Use is designed to allow educators to focus on what they do best: teaching, not legal analysis. Download it for free, courtesy of VideoBlocks Education.